Take the Risk of Vulnerability
Once a month in my CrossFit class my coach Ryan Hudson gives a one or two day “heads up” before we have our monthly “Baseline Test”. I think it’s his way of saying, “you might want to stay off the twinkies in the next few days”. I hated pop quizzes in high school but a suprise physical test that makes former marines puke is just flat out mean. The worst part isn’t even the actual physical test even though it’s between 3-9 minutes (depending on fitness level) of all out work. The worst part is undoubtedly the moment of truth when coach grabs his seemingly innocent weapon…..the dreaded calipers!!! (By the way that is not my amazing abdomen pictured below…..I’m not that ripped!)
These little buggers don’t lie. Scales, weight? You can fool those things but not the calipers! See the calipers cannot be outwitted, they expose ultimate reality. They leave grown men without excuse, utterly vulnerable. If you gain a few pounds from July to August you can simply fool yourself, “well, ya know muscle weighs more than fat right?” but the calipers don’t buy that little line…….they EXPOSE you and they do it while you are shirtless!
The first time I encountered the calipers was in February 2013. It was too painful….I didn’t want to look but I couldn’t look away. How far have I fallen from being an athlete? Have I been looking in a funhouse mirror the past 3 years with a slimming effect and will all my wishful thinking be exposed? Whatever the case I had to go to mental place that even allowed me to lift up shirt and take the calipers like a champ….I had to preach truth to myself;
“All right Ryan the only way to get truly free isn’t to pretend. The only way to get truly free is to look REALITY in the face and begin operating based on truth however depressing the situation is. You can do this, lift up your shirt, breathe deep and embrace it”.
See the truth is that all my goodwill and happy thinking couldn’t change the objective reality that the calipers were about to show. It was about to get really real on that fateful February morning.
This is the same reality we need to face in our marriages. We need marital calipers that can give us checks, balances and ultimate reality. I’m convinced that the words of CS Lewis ring true in light of why we avoid vulnerability, risk and choosing the life of exposing ourselves to the reality of pain:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
The call of marriage is a call to intimacy and the call to intimacy is a call to vulnerability and the call to vulnerability is a call to potential risk. Most marriages and relationships fail because so many never want to open themselves to the risk. So what I learned through some calipers, reading some of my New Testament and revisiting some wonderful thoughts from CS Lewis is that I have to fight my own selfish, self-protective, image-centered, artificial vision of life and exchange it for letting my heart (and my waistline) stay open, exposed and vulnerable so I can truly live, love and breathe.
BTW- I started at 23% body fat and coach has me down to 15% body fat…..I never would have got there had I not been vulnerable enough to lift up my shirt that first, gut-wrenching day.
Take the risk of vulnerability today! The gains and advantages are on the other side!!